Chris Walsh (chris_walsh) wrote,
Chris Walsh

John Carpenter 101 (more FLASHBACKS!), 11/10/1998

I was too forgiving of John Carpenter’s 1998 film Vampires, so I’m not going to quote my whole review. But I’ll share this:

Here’s general stuff about John Carpenter:

Carpenter is the maker of such famously brutal flicks as Halloween, Dark Star, Assault on Precinct 13, Escape From New York, Escape From L.A., The Thing, They Live and Big Trouble in Little China.

As for his style of film, let me put it this way: if he had directed Armageddon, the ending probably would have been the astronauts accidentally blasting the asteroid so that it hits the moon, knocking the much larger rock on a collision course with Earth. He’s that kind of filmmaker: perverse. He destroyed technological civilization in at least one film of his, and his remake of The Thing featured a death by what writer Harlan Ellison called “killer Italian food.”

Carpenter’s characters usually have smilingly ridiculous dialogue that sounds like what pro wrestlers say. His witty alien-conspiracy film They Live (1988) has “Rowdy” Roddy Piper march into an alien-infested bank and announce “I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass. And I am all out of bubblegum.”

His films don’t always work. The dialogue in Escape From L.A. (1996) sometimes sounds like each line was written by a different person in a different room. (Still, L.A. had highly cool and clever music by Carpenter and Shirley Walker that – how can I put this so it’s both delicate and still befitting this filmmaker? – is all out of bubblegum.)

But when a John Carpenter film works properly, characters don’t walk through the movie – they cool through it. (This is like what the Air Force says about its tank-like A-10 bomber: “That plane uglies its way through the air.”)
Tags: film reviews, flashbacks

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